This week’s prompt is brought to you by the 500 Club:
Write a sleepless night. Dismiss your initial ideas and gravitate toward the unexpected.
I ended up going with something stylistically different from what I normally write. I hope you enjoy it.
“Talk to me about patient 75431.”
“He’s a unique case. What are you curious about, specifically?”
The second laughed. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to be more specific.”
“His nocturnal behaviors.”
The second nodded. “Yes, very well. He doesn’t sleep.”
The first one made a quick scratch of a note in the file. “And?”
“That’s it. He doesn’t sleep.”
There was a break in the conversation as the two doctors stared one another down. Finally, the second conceded and offered a fuller explanation. “Are you familiar with Peter Tripp?”
The first shook his head.
“Peter Tripp was the first man to hold a Guinness World Record for sleep deprivation. In 1959, he stayed awake for 201 consecutive hours as a part of a publicity stunt for a radio station–he was a DJ. While he did succeed in setting a world record, he may have also permanently damaged his mind in the process. Friends and family say he was never the same man after that. He suffered from depression, was sometimes violent, and his personality was permanently altered.”
“More so than you know. Eight days without sleep unhinged Peter Tripp’s mind beyond repair. Patient 75431 has been with us, here at the clinic, for more than four years. In all that time, he has been under 24 hour observation. He has never slept a wink.”
The second looked up from his notes. “Your staff must have missed it. It isn’t possible to live without sleep.”
The first shook his head. “We don’t just watch him. We watch his brainwaves. We would know it if he slept, and he has not. Not once. As for whether or not it’s possible to live without sleep, patient 75431 is evidence enough to dispute the claim that sleep is essential to life. However, the state of his mind suggests that sleep may well be essential for sanity.”
“Talk to me about that.”
“I’ve spoken with him. He claims that he stopped sleeping approximately six years ago. According to his account, he came in contact with leprechaun.”
The second raised an eyebrow.
“He claims that the leprechaun granted him three wishes…”
The second sighed.
“…and that his first wish was for riches, his second for fame and his third that he would no longer need sleep. He hoped that eliminating sleep would allow him more time to enjoy his new found fame and wealth.”
“Indeed.” The second made a few more quick notes. “Paranoid delusional schizophrenia.”
The first nodded.
“Okay, patient 75432…”
* * *
In his room, patient 75431 rocked in a corner hugging his knees. He wanted to sleep. Oh, how he longed to close his eyes and rest. He could almost remember what it was to dream, to let go of the waking world and to meet with Morpheus. To drink his sweet wine.
But, he could not.
At the foot of his bed, Shamus watched and giggled.
Rich? Yes. His wealth paid for the clinic.
Famous? Yes. Psychiatrists would talk about his curious case for decades.
Restless? Hell yes. And what a bitter, twisted hell it was.